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Trust in the risen Christ

Shalom Gate at HAPI in Haiti

With the humanitarian crisis in Haiti in mind, Bishop David Bard asks us to live out our resurrection faith and labor for a more peaceful and just world.

Michigan Conference

Just this past Sunday, many of us sang, “Christ the Lord is risen today, Alleluia!” We shouted out, “Christ is risen.” We heard words like, “Death has been swallowed up in victory. Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” (1 Corinthians 15:54c-55, NRSVUE).

Christ is risen, and the world is changed. Yet so much stubbornly remains the same.

The Michigan Conference has a covenantal relationship with the Methodist Church of Haiti. Many Michigan United Methodists have traveled to Haiti to bring aid, teach, and develop relationships. While in medical school, our daughter Beth took two trips to Haiti to provide medical care. So, the recent news out of Haiti is absolutely heartbreaking. There is virtually no functioning governing authority. Street gangs control significant sections of the county with violence and murder. They are recruiting teenagers to commit acts of violence and terror. Rape is common. Hospitals are barely functioning, and some are not at all. Food is scarce in many areas of the country. In short, Haiti is experiencing an unspeakable humanitarian crisis. Your prayers are needed, in addition to your efforts and your voices encouraging peaceful and just solutions.

Unfortunately, the horrific news from Haiti has had to compete for attention with the ongoing and profound humanitarian crisis in Gaza. The brutal terrorist attack by Hamas last October has led to an overwhelming Israeli military response, resulting in unconscionable death tolls, massive destruction, and a desperate need for aid.

To this, we can add the ongoing war in Ukraine and the civil war in Sudan. We can add deaths of despair as people try to mute their pain with illicit drugs.

Christ is risen, and the world is changed. Yet so much remains the same. Death has not entirely been swallowed whole. Victory over death feels partial. And yet, the world really is changed. Everything really is different. The resurrection of Jesus is the inauguration of God’s newer world, a beginning. “He’s the first crop of the harvest” (1 Corinthians 15:20, CEB). We trust that God’s newer world will come to be, where “God’s dwelling is here with humankind. . . . [God] will wipe away every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more. There will be no mourning, crying, or pain anymore” (Revelation 21:3, 4). In God’s new city of delight, there will be “the river of life-giving water” and “[on] each side of the river is the tree of life, which produces twelve crops of fruit, bearing its fruit each month. The tree’s leaves are for the healing of the nations” (Revelation 22:1, 2).

We trust in the power of God, the God of the risen Christ. We trust in the power of love, goodness, kindness, justice, peace, mercy, forgiveness, reconciliation, and beauty. With our resurrection faith, we trust that our prayers make a difference. With our resurrection faith, we trust that our voices for justice and peace make a difference. With our resurrection faith, we live toward God’s new creation, God’s city of delight. With our resurrection faith, we trust that our “labor isn’t going to be for nothing in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 15:58), our labor for a newer world.

We will pray for Haiti and work for solutions that bring peace and security to our neighbors and facilitate an end to this humanitarian crisis. We will advocate for peace and justice in Israel and Palestine, beginning with a cease-fire, immediate release of hostages, and the free flow of humanitarian aid. We will work and pray for peace in Ukraine, Sudan, and other places in the world. We will offer God’s love and grace as a step away from despair.

A final word. As many of you know, the United Methodist General Conference, postponed since 2020, will meet in Charlotte, NC, in late April and early May. I know there are many questions on people’s minds. I know there is much consternation. I know there is a measure of hope. Your prayers are appreciated. Know this: no matter what occurs at General Conference, God’s work of love, reconciliation, forgiveness, peace, justice, kindness, goodness, and beauty continues, and God in Jesus will continue to invite us to join that work.

Christ is risen. Alleluia. Christ is risen, and the world is different. Christ is risen, and we are different.

Last Updated on April 10, 2024

The Michigan Conference